General cannabis licensing in New York opens today amid an injunction on its Conditional Adult-Use Retail licensing program imposed by a judge in August. The 60-day window includes licensing applications for cultivators, processors, distributors, retailers, and micro licenses.
The window opens two days before the state Supreme Court is set to make a decision on the current injunction. Justice Kevin Bryan in August imposed the injunction on cannabis licenses in New York after finding that the state had not followed its own rules with regard to the definition of social equity. The lawsuit was filed by four service-disabled military veterans who argued that the Office of Cannabis Management created a licensing system that ran afoul of New York‘s adult-use cannabis law and improperly limited initial licenses to people with cannabis convictions rather than a wider category of social equity applicants, including service-disabled military veterans. The lawsuit claims that the cannabis regulators overstepped their authority by creating the licensing category for people with convictions because that decision was not approved by the Legislature and that the decision violates the state constitution.
Since the imposition of the injunction, all of New York’s cannabis licensees that have not opened their business in earnest have been in flux, forced to stop building out their sites or working toward opening.
The slow rollout of adult-use cannabis sales in New York, paired with the court order, has led to what lawmakers described in a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) as “250,000 pounds of unsold cannabis.” In that letter, the signatories urged the governor to pass the Cannabis Crop Rescue Act, which would allow farmers to sell their cannabis to dispensaries on Tribal lands in the state. (Full Story)